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Nat Gerrs : Why Europe?

Rediscovering the Path to Europe
Em. Macron, Rediscovering the Path to Europe

Page 3

       HAVING been pushed into the void by their Church, the European peoples did the horrible things that they did, and now they try to discover the minimum necessary and able accord that will let them live in peace. Politicians are afraid of speaking, not only about Christianity, but even about other sides of the European face, even about its Greek side, despite of the fact that the very name of Europe is Greek!..[16] This is not because of some kind of atheism or any ideology - it is just will to survival: they are afraid of putting in the grounds of the European Union whatever might cause any kind of clash.[17]

      The vagueness in the acknowledgment of some ‘European heritage’ by the Constitution, is not due to the politicians' supposed one-sided devotion to technocracy. Europe does not have a World,[18] inside which things can make sense, letting one know them and talk about them - not to mention sacrificing one's self for them. Nietzsche already and clearly saw “‘modernity’ in the perspective of the metaphor of nourishment and digestion”.[19]

      The ‘European heritage’ is indeed vague, first of all in the consciousness of the European ‘citizens’, which is the reason why I wouldn't agree with archbishop Christodoulos that the decisions of the political leadership may make the European feel a stranger in his home.[20] He has been a stranger in his home for a long time,[21] thanks to the Church! Living mainly the Greek experience, the archbishop of Greece naturally wonders, and considers, for example, the accession of Turkey into Europe, as absurd.[22]

The home, which the European prepares to live in, has the character of the block of flats. However luxurious, it consists necessarily of an impersonal space for common-use and individual apartments,[23] inside which everyone[24] will be rushing to secure themselves and live whatever life they're going to live. With the one Church of Christ fragmented, Meaning has become an individual issue: there is room for common-use, room that will be formed as a balance of powers and interests, but there is not, nor can there be, a common life of ours, not at the European level, which is of interest now.[25] There exists suspicion of such claims, in fear of theocracy and totalitarianism. We understand this suspicion, that it is indeed reasonable, yet we must say, that in this case what happens with each person, happens also with societies: their life needs a meaning beyond mere survival. It is different to think how a meaning can lead to totalitarianism, and different to deny any meaning at all, in fear of totalitarianism.

      It is obvious that the only intervention the Churches ‘can’ have, if they want to be consistent and reliable and if they really care to help the European Union, is their own union. They must understand that what is happening now in Europe is a union of their children, good or bad, they are their children - more united now, even than their parents! As long as the Churches remain divided, for whatever reasons they may remain divided, with anything they see and judge they just observe the wounds of a corpse - but necropsy cannot be of any use at all for the dead. Yet, if the united children are dead, how much more dead should the divided Churches be?


[16] Cf. Valery, La crise de l’esprit, and Max Weber, Values of occidental civilization.

[17] When thinking has followed the ways of hubris, fear of thinking is to be expected; cf. Kierkegaard, The real problem.

[18] Implying the Greek word for the world, which is Cosmos: ornament, beauty, harmony, divine order.

[19] Cf. Novalis, The Fall of Europe: “the very particular hatred that was initially directed at the Catholic faith gradually became hatred of the Bible, of the Christian faith and ultimately of religion per se. And what is more, this hatred of religion was very naturally and logically extended to anything that might be the object of enthusiasm, and condemned imagination and sentiment, morality and the love of art, the future and the past; in the end, Man was necessarily put at the top of the ladder of beings, and the eternal and inexhaustible music of the universe became the monotonous ticking of an immense mill, driven and carried by the flood of Fate, a mill in itself, without architect or miller, a veritable ‘perpetuum mobile’, a mill grinding itself.”

[20] See Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, To the Eurodeputies: “the Churches of Europe, and with them the Church of Greece, do not demand the imposition of Christianity, do not dispute whatever contributions were made by other religions, and indeed by different ideologies, and they are not attempting to designate the faith and the way of life of the citizens of Europe. They ask that the European not feel a stranger in his own home, and are acting to prevent the political assassination of the European spirit”.

[21] Cf. Nietzsche, The European nihilism

[22] Cf. Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, To the Eurodeputies: “if you submit to transitory assessments, if you allow the European Union to fall prey to geopolitical expediencies, then you will lose sight of what is desirable. A union that would include the countries of the eastern and southern Mediterranean will constitute a historical joke. Who among us desires a political entity comparable to the erstwhile Soviet Union? Who among us did not see in its collapse something more than the fall of Communism? Who did not see in it the dissolution of a ‘union’ of dissimilar cultures?” Besides this, and beyond a friendly and even a special relationship with Turkey, I wonder why Turkey herself would like to join the European Union. Maybe she also dreams about her becoming a company more than a society. Yet, can I have friends and guests, if I don't have a home? If I don't have a home but a company, I don't have family members and friends, but collaborators and clients. Society as a home is something we shape according to our common values and concerning the wholeness of life: faith can not be excluded.

[23] Cf. Hugo, My revenge is fraternity.

[24] Everyone, who has a self; for the rest the common-use and the impersonal will be the ideal abode; cf. Ortega y Gassett, The revolt of the masses, Max Weber, The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism.

[25] Cf. Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, With or without Christianity?: “without Christianity, the United Europe will not become a society but a company. It will be unable to develop into anything more than a well-organised group of people, connected between them only with the frosty logic of the rights of the individual. In Christian society, human relations are governed by the wealth of the soul, and it is only when this latter has become exhausted that we resort to the law. In contrast, in a company the law stipulates the nature and the manner of the relations so that the whole may be maintained in order, so one is then left with the impression that one's self develops as one thinks fit. I wonder, how much loneliness will be needed before we realise that the development of personality outside the blessed society is precisely what is described in the parable of the Prodigal Son?”


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Rediscovering the Path to Europe Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

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